Interview with Joe Truskot....Part Two by Joyce Oroz

Mr. Truskot, your new book, Central Coast Rose Manual, is beautiful and so informative. Why did you decide to take on this project?.........................
For eleven years, I was the editor of The Bay Rose, the Monterey Bay Rose Society’s monthly newsletter. During that time, I produced an eight-page newsletter every month. So when I left my job, I had the book nearly written. It only took me about six weeks to re-organize the information and edit it down. The remainder of the time was spent taking and editing photographs, writing some original content where there were voids and dealing with the challenges of software programs. I also knew that most of what general books on roses had to say about horticultural practices were wrong for California’s coastal communities. In addition, most major outlets for roses—the notorious Big Box Stores—had a purchasing agent back in corporate headquarters who didn’t know a thing about our climate. At various presentations and clinics I’ve run, I kept meeting frustrated gardeners who thought that there was something wrong about them and their ability to grow roses when the specific variety of rose was not suitable to our conditions. Growing certain rose varieties in our climate is like trying to grow cocoanuts in Ohio……………

Joe, I have toured your beautiful rose garden, and wonder how much time it takes to create such a masterpiece. Any special tips you would like to pass on?.........................
Ask any gardener. The work is never done. In preparation for your visit to my garden, I realized I had several empty spaces. I’d cut down a tree that got too big. I’d dug out underperforming roses in January and never replaced them. I’d moved others around which slowed their growth. So I had to do some last minute decorating with annuals and garden decorations to mask the fact that the roses were missing in a few areas. Once the roses are established, the care you provide is feeding and watering, weeding, and dead-heading. It does get easier as the garden gets more established. The important rule is to keep the number of roses you grow to a minimum. And make sure those that you do grow are showy and healthy……………..

Here are six things rose growers can do right now to have better roses……………….
1. Open up the inside of each rose bush. Light should be able to fall on the bud union. This provides better air circulation, encourages new canes to grow from the base of the bush, and will inhibit the development of black spot.
2. Dead head spent roses quickly. Always make your cut to an out-side bud eye so the new flowering stalk grows away from the center of the plant.
3. Add a double handful of alfalfa pellets to the bottom of each bush and water them in. During the next several waterings the pellets break down and release an enzyme which helps all plants absorb the nutrients in the soil.
4. A half-cup of Epsom Salt provides some magnesium which is deficient in most garden soil around the Monterey Bay. Magnesium helps plants transport nutrients. This only needs to be done every couple of years or so as magnesium stays in the soil.
5. Pinch off side buds growing on your hybrid teas. This allows the single bud to develop more so you will have a larger, longer-lasting, more symmetrically beautiful flower and the plant will replace this single flower sooner.
6. Thin out any plants growing too close to your roses, especially trees and undergrowth. Rose roots aren’t invasive and quickly lose their intended nourishment to invaders.
look for the Central Coast Rose Manual on line at Amazon


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